Dogs are natural road warriors. It seems as soon as they see you grabbing the car keys, they’re on their feet, ready to act as your co-pilot. So if a new car is in your plans, consider these dog-friendly features:
1. Easy to clean. Dogs love to go to the park, swim, hike or take part in other activities that can result in muddy feet and hair. Other dogs, meanwhile, may get motion sick. Look for stain resistant, pleather or leather seats, easy to clean flooring and vinyl floor mats for your new car.
2. Tinted windows. It’s not just about looking cool, it’s about staying cool. A car can be 60% cooler with tinted windows. They also protect the driver and passengers from glare and 99% of harmful UV rays. Laws vary from province to province, with some provinces stipulating a percentage of light that must be let in.
3. Remote start. This allows you to start the car while you’re still in the house, leashing your dog.
4. Power lift gate. A power lift gate can be opened as you walk to the car so you can seamless load your dog into the car.
5. Seats that fold down flat. These work great for big dogs who may travel in the back with other cargo.
6. Ceiling or side vents in the rear of the vehicle. Hot air can easily get trapped in the back of a vehicle, especially an SUV. Additional vents make sure air circulates to the rear of the vehicle to keep your dog cool comfortable.
7. Childproofed window switches. Excited dogs can accidentally step on window switches and open them by mistake. Childproofed switches eliminate the risk of your dog jumping or falling out an open window.
8. Vehicle height. While SUVs may be roomy for dogs, jumping in and out can be hard on their knees, especially those of older dogs, unless you use a ramp or steps.
9. Airbag sensors. If your small dog likes to ride shotgun in the front seat, look for vehicles that have a weight detector so he won’t be in danger of being hit with an air bag in case of an accident. Do remember though, that dogs are safest if they’re wearing a doggie seat belt in the back seat.
10. Cargo separators. If your dog travels in the back of your SUV or van, consider getting a cargo separator to protect him from falling items.